EDITORIAL: Is Mike Causey a hero?

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Mike Causey

It’s late-breaking news and there’s still a lot to sort out, but from where we’re sitting it looks like sitting state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey just brought down half of the state GOP apparatus in one fell swoop.

It’s all so greasy, and the scandal winds its filthy trail right through Greensboro, which is mentioned specifically in the indictment.

The allegations go like this: Back in April 2017 Greg Lindberg, owner of Global Bankers Insurance Group in Durham, allegedly set events in motion with the intention of influencing the state insurance commissioner, Mike Causey, to make decisions favorable to his company, according to the indictment, unsealed on Tuesday afternoon.

Embroiled in the accusations are — John Gray, a Lindberg advisor, and John Palermo, a GBIG associate — who, the indictment states, wanted to come work for the NC Department of Insurance while GBIG made up the difference in his salary.

And that’s not all!

Current chair of the NC GOP, Robin Hayes, has been indicted for lying to the FBI. Politico, WRAL the News & Observer and other outlets have already sussed out the identity of “Public Official A” as Rep. Mark Walker of the 6th Congressional District that runs through Guilford County.

Walker, who has said he’s been cooperating with the Department of Justice on this one, stands accused of contacting Causey on Lindberg’s behalf, and pocketing a $150,000 campaign donation for his efforts.

And it turns out that, through various PACs and political agencies, Lindberg has also been a major contributor to Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who just started gearing up his campaign for governor.

It’s all quite incredible: the breadth and scope of the festering corruption; the ease and frequency with which such a scheme — Lindberg is also under investigation in Florida — can be implemented; the entire infrastructure that exists to help large corporations bypass the law.

Most of all there’s Mike Causey, who, according to the indictment, refused to accept $10,000 from Lindberg in April 2017, and then went to the feds with the whole thing in January 2018, after which he recorded conversations, provided evidence and otherwise sealed the doom of everyone involved — which includes many powerful people in the party of which he is a member.

The story is still live, and it is important to remember that it’s an indictment and not a conviction — though most of the indictment’s evidence comes straight from interactions with Causey.

But right now, it looks like a Guilford County farmer just ripped the state GOP a new one.